We are close to completing our huge project to upgrade our free Photo platform. Here are some of the highlights:
- New, more scalable and robust infrastructure to handle hundreds of millions of photos
- Completely redesigned user experience for race and ticket websites, as well as dashboard setup
- Available for Races and for our GiveSignup nonprofit Ticket Platform
- Participant Uploads, with previews and ability to delete
- Better Album control and editing, like selecting a cover photo for each album and moving photos from one album to another
- Improved auto-tagging of photos with new bib image recognition from Tagily (we do NOT allow facial recognition)
- Remove auto-tagging control
- Team photo albums
- Integration of photos with results
- Sponsor logo watermarks
- View stats on photo albums
- Moderation of photos
- Photo API allows third party developers to integrate with our system
Photos on Your Website
Whether you upload photos, or you all participants to upload photos, your website will be updated automatically with a page dedicated to photos:
This allows website visitors to browse the albums, or search for specific people based on name or bib number:
Hovering over an image will show quick links to download or share on Facebook:
Clicking on on an image will show the image in full screen mode, and you can easily scroll thru all the photos in that search or in an album. Note that a logo watermark will appear if you have configured it as this Lacas Coffee image shows:
Automated Photo Tagging Upgrade
When photos are uploaded, we send them to a service that automatically attempts to recognize the bib numbers. This allows us to automatically match participants with their photos. We are upgrading this service to a new provider that uses a special machine learning algorithm especially for race bib identification. We expect this to improve the automated tagging.
Directors can also use crowdsourcing and allow viewers to tag photos by name or bib number:
Event directors can now enable participants to upload photos. The participant must be logged in, and we automatically create an album for them of all of their uploaded photos. If the photos have bib numbers in them, they will be auto-tagged as explained above as well.
We have also tightly integrated the free photo platform into the results platform. This means that your event website has photos matched to results as soon as results or photos are available. Participants and spectators love this feature.
When you have teams set up for your event, photos for individuals will automatically put put on the Team Page with links as well as on the Team Results page. For example, Jeff Galloway has a Winter Challenge, and when individual participants upload photos, the photos also appear on team pages. There is no need to do any additional setup for event directors.
Photos for Nonprofit Ticket Platform
We will also be bringing our free photo platform to nonprofit ticket events in February. This provides nonprofits with a great way to capture the fun of their gala, golf outing or any event. Nonprofits can have designated photographers that upload a bunch of photos, or allow attendees to upload photos. We will be requiring login to upload photos since we do not want to allow anonymous photo uploading.
Image Appropriateness AI
We do use Amazon AWS Artificial Intelligence to try to automatically inappropriate images.
No Facial Recognition
Our free photo platform performs no facial recognition. This helps ensure our customers do not run into any legal challenges from the diverse set of laws across the US.
We also decided against having the ability for people to comment on photos as it introduces a level of complexity in content moderation that events do not really want.
Let’s get into the details with a review of the dashboard where event directors will setup, upload, and manage of photos:
Uploading photos is simple. This is where you can upload to an existing album, or create new albums:
Once you select or create an album, just drag and drop your photos. We recommend a max of 5MB, but we will permit up to 25MB. We automatically resize your photos for optimal performance as thumbnail images, for display on mobile devices and for display on computer screens. We save the original and that is what viewers can download. You can upload a directory of a thousand photos or more in one shot on this page.
View and Edit Photos
Directors have a quick and simple way to edit photos with a quick scroll bar and full page photo view. They can add names or bib numbers to tag people in a photo, as well as delete photos.
Search Photos allows directors to narrow the photos they are looking at by the event, whether the photos are tagged or untagged, the bib number as well as order the viewing.
Advanced Mode provides for a full screen view of photos and the ability to quickly type in bib numbers to add them. In this example, the system automatically saw bib 863, but did not got bib 913, so a director can add that very quickly and then just click to view the next photo. This enables an event to have someone tag photos manually very quickly.
Photo albums are easily managed here. There are a number of great features:
- Rename Albums
- Pick a cover photo
- See quick stats on the number of photos in each album and the number of views of photos that have happened on the website (note that if you have a sponsor watermark, the sponsor also can see their total logo views in the sponsor system).
- Delete photos
- Move photo from one album to another
The Bib Management provides nice tools that allow directors to remove bib numbers that are unassigned or not in a range (and to reverse that action if you made a mistake). It also allows for integration with Pic2Go. Finally, it shows the most frequent bib numbers, allowing you to identify a number that might not be appropriate. For example, there might be a speed limit sign in the background of a bunch of pictures and you wild be able to easily remove the bib number “35” that got tagged accidentally from the sign.
We are also opening up a photo API. This will allow third party apps to upload photos automatically. For example, we have a potential partner who has an iPhone app that can be set up at a finish or split and is connected with the timing mat. It snaps a photo when a person crosses the mat. The API would allow the iPhone to upload the photos in the background if there is Internet available. That would make photos available very quickly and efficiently.
Thousands of events have used our free photo platform to upload millions of photos – all for free. And the benefit of showing the photos on your event website as soon as they are uploaded makes your website all that more useful and fun for participants and spectators. In the pandemic, we have seen the ability for participants to upload photos to their virtual events and challenges be a way to connect.